Raymond McIntyre

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1879, d.1933

Ruth

  • Presented by the McIntyre Family through Miss F. M. McIntyre, 1938
  • Oil on wood panel
  • 380 x 295mm
  • 69/96
  • c. 1913

Arriving in London in 1909, the Christchurch-born and trained Raymond McIntyre soon gained a reputation there for his small, pared-back landscapes and studies of female heads, painted in an elegant, simplified, Japanese woodblock inspired style. This painting was modelled on an actor and dancer who became his principal muse from 1912, sometimes mentioned in his letters home: “The girl who is sitting for me a lot now, Sylvia Constance Cavendish… has a very refined interesting pale face… I have done some very good work from her… she is quite a find.”

McIntyre died in London in 1933. Seven of his works were given by his family between 1938 and 1991.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

earlier labels about this work
  • Ruth is one of a series of woman's heads painted in the period just prior to World War One. Strongly influenced by the works of Whistler and Toulouse Lautrec, whose works he would have seen during a visit to France and by the Japanese woodblock print, this painting has a rigorous design. The model's features are modified and the forms reduced to an elegant simplicity. The sitter was probably a young actress, Phyllis Cavendish, who was his favourite model at this time and who was persuaded to coil her long hair on either side of her face like the Breton women McIntyre had observed on a trip to France. His aim was for elegance, balance, harmony and simplicity. McIntyre's signature has been reduced to a decorative monogram similar to the chop mark used on many Japanese prints at this time. It is placed as a decorative element within this small and balanced composition.

    (Label date unknown)